No Need to Treat Stable Meniscus Tears During ACL Surgery, New Research Shows

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While athletes undergoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery often have an additional meniscus injury, treating these tears at the same time may not be necessary. Research presented today by the MOON Knee Group at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (A OSSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando shows positive results for meniscal tears that were deemed stable and left alone at the time of ACL reconstruction.

While large, unstable meniscus tears may need treatment at time of ACL surgery, this study confirms the smaller, stable tears can be left alone. -Kyle R. Duchman, MD

While athletes undergoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery often have an additional meniscus injury, treating these tears at the same time may not be necessary. Research presented today by the MOON Knee Group at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando shows positive results for meniscal tears that were deemed stable and left alone at the time of ACL reconstruction.

“We examined 194 patients with meniscus tears who did not receive treatment at the time of ACL surgery,” noted lead author Kyle R. Duchman, MD from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “In these patients, 97.8% of those with lateral meniscus tears and 94.4% of those with medial tears left untreated required no reoperation at least 6 years after initial surgery.”

The study noted that overall, only 16 tears (7.7%) required reoperation, with the majority being in younger patients and those with a tear greater than 10mm. Data was collected at seven centers between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2004.

“As surgeons, we want to avoid too much intervention on a patient’s knee when good outcomes can be expected,” noted Duchman. “While large, unstable meniscus tears may need treatment at time of ACL surgery, this study confirms the smaller, stable tears can be left alone.”

This study was the first of its kind to report on a patient group at a minimum of six years post-operation.

This research from the MOON Knee Group received the Herodicus Award at AOSSM’s 2015 Annual Meeting.

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The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids.

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